Tag Archives: eating in Lebanon

One order of ventilation please.

You know Margherita, right?  That authentic Italian restaurant in Gemmayze often described as “one of the best pizzerias in town?”  Well, I went there with a couple of friends this weekend who needed to get their pizza fix..and I have to say, it’s as charming as ever..
Margherita Gemmayze

Margeherita Italian Restaurant in Gemmayze

especially with the addition of their new menu (their previous menu was type written on white printer paper).

Margherita Gemmayze

Margherita's new menu..charming, right?

Who is the lovely dame on the cover?  Well, according to the story printed on the first page of the menu, she is Queen Margherita of Savoy.  Born November 20th, 1851 in Turin, Italy, she was the Queen consort of the Kingdom of Italy during the reign (1878-1900) of her husband, Humbert I.  The Margherita pizza is named after her, as is Margherita the restaurant.

Margherita is tiny, which means that without even trying, you overhear the conversations taking place right next to you..not something I mind all that much, especially when the conversations are in Italian (..a definitive sign that the place is gooood.)

Margherita Gemmayze

Inside Margerita..yup that was the table of Italians.. ;)

Margherita Gemmayze

Pizza at Margherita

and it is,,Margherita really is great.

Except..(you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) it seemed as if everyone else in the restaurant was finishing their meal just as we were starting ours.

What does this mean?  Well, …that at about the same moment I started eating my food, copious amounts of smoke filled the air and were being wafted in my direction.

Needless to say, I wasn’t able to enjoy the meal.

And, you know what?  That is a shame.  A damn shame..because as good as the food and service were, the smoke tainted my experience at Margherita.

Margherita Gemmayze

Found this on the back of the menu in the "comments" section..

I’m not going to sit here and write another post about smoking, why it’s bad for you, and why second hand smoke is even worse.  It’s been done a million times before.  But I will say, that as a non-smoker who loves going out to eat and drink, I’m find it increasingly difficult to find places with good ventilation..( I’m not even going to say “places that are non-smoking,” coz those are practically non-existent here.)

I do hope that one day, the Ministry of Health will see the value in banning smoking in public places, but until then, please..to all of you owners out there..  If you don’t want to ban smoking in your restaurant/pub/club (like the Spanish did) then please consider installing ventilation systems for those of us who don’t smoke.

Or at least let me put up this sign,,

Ban smoking in Lebanon

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Image taken from Liliane’s post: Why did ‘Ain’t no smoking tonight’ fail?

25 Comments

Filed under life in Lebanon

Welcome to the neighborhood Cafe Hamra. Nice to have you!

Ok, so I’ll admit.  I was a little skeptical of Cafe Hamra when I first saw it.  I mean, did Hamra really need another restaurant?  But after giving it a try for the first time last Sunday, I’m happy with the new addition to the neighborhood!

The first thing you notice when you walk in, is how large and spacious it is..something you don’t find very often in Hamra..or in Lebanon for that matter..Don’t get me wrong, I love the intimacy of places like Ferdinand and Neighbors..but I’ve always been one for large open spaces and high ceilings..

Cafe Hamra

Inside Cafe Hamra

I want to say that the restaurant almost reminds me of cafeteria style dining,,but in a good way.  It just feels so relaxed…  The seating is set up in such a way that you can choose either to sit on the soft, cushy couches, or on regular chairs – for those of you who like to sit up straight and not slouch!..but for me, it was no contest..  Soft couches are where it’s at!

After parking my booty on the couch, I noticed the graffiti map of Hamra on the ceiling..which I probably should have studied more as I still, after 10 months, don’t know the street names in Hamra..

Cafe Hamra

The ceiling in Cafe Hamra - how do they do that?

I have to say, I really appreciated how much time and effort was put into every aspect of Cafe Hamra..From the graffitied ceiling, to the murals on the walls (see below), to the innumerable amount of both vintage and pop culture elements showcased all through the restaurant, to the uniforms, and the tableware..everything was on point!.  I have to give it up to the visionary mastermind behind it all.  Props to you whoever you are!

Cafe Hamra

I love Hamra!

I left it up to my friend to order, and she was feeling particularly Asian that day it seems..so we had Shrimp Spring Rolls, Fresh Summer Rolls, and Coconut chicken curry.. (oh, AND a chocolate milkshake AND fries AND desert..fatties, I know!  But we’ll talk about the desert later)..Anyhow, all of this to say that everything was superb!

Cafe Hamra

Cafe Hamra's Soft Opening Menu

There is one thing I have to comment on though, and that’s the sheer amount of servers that were on shift.  I mean, I understand that staff is cheap in Lebanon, and that the restaurant had only been open two days.. aaaand that it was still under “soft opening”..but still..did they have to tell all of their employees to come to work that day?  I think for the first time since I’ve been in Lebanon the servers were actually TOO attentive!  I should probably stop complaining, as good service is what I’ve been asking for all of this time..

Cafe Hamra

That's a lot of staff! Six servers and a manager! And that's only in a tiny portion of the restaurant..yes I know, they were still in training.. ;)

Naturally, I sat in the non-smoking section..and I just had to take a picture of this..The smoking and non-smoking sections are actually partitioned off..like with actual wood and glass!  Surprising, no?  At Cafe Hamra it’s not just a matter of putting us (the minority of non-smokers in Lebanon) in a small corner of their restaurant..but they actually give us our own section!  That’s a first.

Cafe Hamra

Cafe Hamra - actual smoking and non-smoking sections..bravo!

I took a couple of pictures to show you, my dear readers, what the food looked like..but when I was choosing which ones to include in this post..the desert stole the showwwww..  When it came time to order desert, my friend and I were in a quandary about which one to order..but we finally settled on the bread pudding..and even though it takes about 10-15 minutes to make it’s sure worth the waiiiiit! :)

Cafe Hamra

How can such simple things make me so happy?

Cafe Hamra

Scrummmdidliumcious..yummy, buttery, ice-creamy, caramely deliciousness! My new favorite desert..hands down!

Cafe Hamra

And what better way to top off my experience than with a cappuccino? Illy coffee + chocolate design + little cookie = perfection. Would've added a couple of more dots to the Cafe Hamra tagline though. then...now

The outside garden is due to be open soon..and I think it’s the perfect place to hold our next tweet up, what do you guys say?

18 Comments

Filed under life in Lebanon

Finger lickin’ good..or..not?

Went out to lunch with some colleagues from work today, and caught one of them putting on gloves before he ate his chicken wings..

“What are you doing?” I said to him, “Licking your fingers clean is the best part of eating chicken wings!”

He didn’t look too amused. 

“Not when you’re a graphic designer,” he said..

Chicken wings at Roadsters

Gloves - taking the fun out of eating chicken wings..

Do you eat your chicken wings with gloves? If you do, you don’t know what you’re missing!

7 Comments

Filed under eating in Lebanon, life in Lebanon

What came first? The pizza or the sashimi?

Yeah Yeah..I know this is nothing new to Lebanese people, as this concept has been around for quite sometime, apparently the whole “pair sushi with everything” trend was big here a couple of years back..

but, even so.. every time I go to Scoozi, I’m still a bit thrown off at the whole “Dual Sensation Italian/Japanese Cuisine” thing..

I mean..Thai and Japenese I get..but Italian and Japanese?  Ummm…I guess it works well for indecisive people..oh, and if you are trying to capture two types of customers…

But I wonder, what came first?  The pizza or the sashimi?

Scoozi Restaurant

umm Sushi and Pizza please..

4 Comments

Filed under eating in Lebanon

University Sage

THE University Sage

The order: "Nutella and Banana please!"

The result: The perfect companion for a day walking around Hamra..YUM

4 Comments

Filed under eating in Lebanon

A day at the winery..

We decided to opt for something different this weekend..a visit to a local winery called Massaya..

Before getting to the winery, we stopped off at a place famous for their labneh..I had two labneh sandwiches and Turkish coffee, even before we got to the winery – I didn’t realize I had an organic feast waiting for me!

After arriving at the winery, we walked through the grape fields until we came upon a wooden cottage that looked like it belonged somewhere in Kentucky, not in Lebanon!  Ahhh!  What a breath of fresh air just being there was..The restaurant at Massaya winery is only open on Sundays for lunch, and sits only 50-60 people, we were lucky to have gotten a reservation.

What proceeded was a two and a half hour meal fit for kings: six courses, open wine bar, and an intimate experience with people that I’m lucky to know..

Massaya Winery

Inside Massaya gift shop

Massaya Winery

The restaurant, how amazing is this?!?

Massaya Winery

Goodness..

Massaya Winery

Marshmellows in Lebanon,,yes!

Leave a comment

Filed under eating in Lebanon, life in Lebanon